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13 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 617 (1980-1981)
American Courts and Modern Terrorism: The Politics of Extradition

handle is hein.journals/nyuilp13 and id is 629 raw text is: AMERICAN COURTS AND MODERN
TERRORISM: THE POLITICS
OF EXTRADITION
I. INTRODUCTION
Most extradition' laws and treaties expressly provide for an
exemption from extradition for individuals committing political
offenses.2 As is generally true with most of the laws and treaties,
however, no attempt has been made to define political offense
in those treaties to which the United States is a party.3 Conse-
quently, the American judiciary has developed a test to identify
political offenses,4 but critics have argued that the test involves an
1. Extradition is the process by which persons charged with or convicted
of crime against the law of a State and found in a foreign State are returned by
the latter to the former for trial or punishment. 6 N1. Whiteman, Digest of In-
ternational Law 727 (1968) [hereinafter Whiteman].
2. Id. at 800.
3. Id.; Cantrell, The Political Offense Exemption in International Extraditon: A
Comparison of the United States, Great Britain and the Repubik of Ireland. 60 Marq.
L. Rev. 777, 815 (1977) [hereinafter Cantrell).
In recent extradition treaties, however, the United States has expressly ex-
duded from the political offense exception certain categories of terrorism, such
as hijacking and attacks against diplomats and other government officials. See,
e.g., Treaty on Extradition, May 14, 1974, United States-Australia, 27 U.S.T. 957,
T.I.A.S. No. 8234; Treaty on Extradition, May 24, 1973, United States-Paraguay,
25 U.S.T. 967, T.I.A.S. No. 7838; Treaty on Extradition, Jan. 18, 1973, United
States-Italy, 26 U.S.T. 493, T.I.A.S. No. 8052; Treaty on Extradition. June 22.
1972, United States-Denmark, 25 U.S.T. 1293, T.I.A.S. No. 7864; Treaty on Ex-
tradition, Jan. 21, 1972, United States-Argentina, 23 U.S.T. 3501, T.I.A.S. No.
7510; Treaty on Extradition, Dec. 3, 1971, United States-Canada, 27 U.S.T. 983.
T.I.A.S. No. 8237. See also Cantrell at 815-17; Comment, Unraveling the Gordian
Knot: The United States Law of Extradition and the Political Offender Exception. 3
Fordham Int'l LF. 141, 163 (1980). In addition, the United States has been a
party to several multilateral treaties which urge the punishment or extradition of
those charged with aircraft hijackings or offenses against diplomats. For a sum-
mary of the conventions, see Cantrell at 801-11. For purposes of this Note. ter-
rorism will be limited to those offenses not already excluded by treaty from the
political offense exception.
4. Procedurally, the determination of a political offense in the United
States is a two-step process. First, a court must determine whether the offense is
extraditable under the treaty, according to law and evidence. In re Ezeta. 62 F.
617

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